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COVID-19 Antibody Treatment, Boca’s New Building Code, And Sugar Growers Sue Over Everglades

A worker enters a Regeneron clinic treatment site in Pembroke Pines at C.B. Smith Park on Wednesday, August 18, 2021.
Al Diaz
/
Miami Herald
The new Regeneron clinic treatment site in Pembroke Pines at C.B. Smith Park on Wednesday, August 18, 2021.

The governor is touting the monoclonal antibody treatment but is it safe and is it effective? Boca Raton recently enacted the strictest building inspection code in the state. Plus, a battle over the Everglades between sugar companies and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

On this, Tuesday, Aug.31, episode of Sundial. 

COVID Antibody Treatment 

The demand is skyrocketing for an antibody treatment to help prevent the worst symptoms of COVID-19, especially in states with a surge of cases.

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Florida is one of those states, and has also begun to open monoclonal antibody treatment centers. Still, there are questions about the effectiveness of the treatment — and the possible side effects.

“It's not without risk. These cocktails have side effects. And to be very frank, you make your own antibodies if you get the vaccine. And that's a lot less risky thing to do, to have the vaccine than to have this intensive monoclonal antibody treatment,” said Dr. Aileen Marty, infectious disease expert at Florida International University and a leader on the Miami-Dade County COVID-19 task force.

“The other thing is, at the time that we give these antibodies, it actually turns off your own body's machinery that would make your own good quality antibodies," she added.

Experts say these COVID-19 treatments are not substitutes for vaccinations.

Three of these centers have opened in South Florida this month. In Pembroke Pines, Miami and West Palm Beach.

COVID Antibody Treatment
Image: VA VAntage Point blog

Boca's New Building Code

It’s been two months since the Surfside condo collapse and the aftermath is forcing cities and municipalities across South Florida to question the safety of buildings.

Boca Raton recently enacted the strictest building inspection code in the state.

“What we hope is that we'll continue to work with other cities and counties to develop best practices, and our efforts may actually provide a guidepost for other cities,” said the city’s mayor Scott Singer.

It requires hundreds of buildings across the city to be inspected over the coming months.

It could cost the city and residents in older condo buildings hundreds, if not millions, of dollars, depending on the repairs needed.

“Broward and Dade County both had recertification programs that were required for buildings that were 40 years or older. Palm Beach County didn't have a requirement like that. None of the municipalities in the city or in the county had that kind of requirement either. But the Surfside tragedy dramatized the need to have something like that put in place,” said Andy Thompson, a Boca Raton city council member.

The city’s ordinance is requiring safety and structural inspections for building that older than 30 years and that they be re-certified every 10 years after that.

Boca’s New Building Code
A view of Champlain Towers North, still standing after the collapse of the south building, on June 27, 2021.

Sugar Growers Sue Over Everglades

There has been an ongoing fight in the Everglades over how to move water.

The agriculture industry wants water for its business. Environmentalists want to move more water into marshes and the Florida Bay for Everglades restoration.

The latest fight in this saga is multiple lawsuits filed by sugar growers against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for moving water into a reservoir and treatment marsh that are still being built.

WLRN environmental reporter Jenny Staletovich joined Sundial to discuss. Read more of her reporting here.

Sugar Growers Sue Over Everglades
Everglades.jpg

Leslie Ovalle produces WLRN's daily magazine program, Sundial. She previously produced Morning Edition newscasts at WLRN and anchored the midday news. As a multimedia producer, she also works on visual and digital storytelling.